BiographyRita Cheng has served as Provost at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee since April 2005. She is the ninth person and second woman to serve as the provost of UWM since the university was established in 1956.
As the campus chief academic and operating officer, Dr. Cheng oversees the development and implementation of academic policy, fosters new academic programs, monitors programmatic effectiveness, identifies and establishes academic priorities in collaboration with faculty, university leadership, and statewide higher education administration. Dr. Cheng collaborates with UW-System leadership and appears before and works with the Board of Regents' committees, foundation board, alumni board, board of visitors, legislators, and other external university boards. As the senior vice chancellor she acts in the Chancellor's stead in his absence.
Units reporting to the Provost include 12 schools and colleges, university libraries, campus technology center, enrollment management offices, and such specialized units as international activities, Latino center, human resources, multicultural affairs office, employee professional development, and the affirmative action office. Dr. Cheng is responsible for prioritizing resource needs, securing resources for campus programs, and allocating money and space to campus units. She is responsible for the processes and programs of faculty and staff development, supervision of promotion and tenure process for faculty and indefinite status appointment process for academic staff. She serves as the liaison between faculty and staff governance and administration on all academic and personnel matters. Dr. Cheng fosters scholarship on campus through dissemination of information about research opportunities and by assisting faculty and staff in advancing their research agenda and securing external funding and is directly involved with cultivation activities associated with capital campaign.
Dr. Cheng joined UWM in 1988 as an assistant professor of accounting in the School of Business Administration. Within the School of Business Administration, she held the title the A.O. Smith Professor of Accounting first as an associate professor and then as a professor. She also served as Special Assistant to the School of Business Dean for Affirmative Action.
Dr. Cheng has served the university in several high-level administrative capacities including Interim Dean of the School of Continuing Education, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and Associate Dean of the School of Business Administration. While in these roles, she led both the campus Higher Learning Commission and the Business School's AACSB re-accreditation efforts.
Dr. Cheng's research focuses on nonprofit and governmental accountability. She has published numerous journal articles and technical reports. Recent articles have assessed government performance reporting, government accounting choice models, nonprofit financial performance, and the influence of accounting regulation on corporate business competitiveness. Her internationally recognized research and leadership in the academic accounting field have directly influenced today's national standards. She is a co-author of a leading accounting textbook and is a Wisconsin Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Government Financial Manager.
Her Ph.D. is from the Fox School of Business and Management at Temple University (major in accounting and minor in public administration). She earned her MBA degree from the University of Rhode Island and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with honours from Bishop's University, Lennoxville, Quebec.